- Wally West
Wally West, the third Flash.
Cover art for The Flash vol. 2, #207, by Michael Turner.
Publication information Publisher DC Comics First appearance as Kid Flash:
The Flash #110
Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986)
Created by John Broome
In-story information Full name Wallace Rudolph "Wally" West Place of origin Keystone City, Kansas Team affiliations Justice League
Partnerships Barry Allen
Notable aliases Kid Flash, Kid Lantern, Flash Abilities
On May 6, 2011, IGN ranked Wally West #8 on their list of the "Top 100 Super Heroes of All Time", stating that "Wally has also been a member of the Teen Titans, New Teen Titans and the Justice League. Basically, Wally West is one of the DCU’s greatest heroes, even if he doesn’t rank as the original Scarlet Speedster."
- 1 History
- 2 Powers and abilities
- 3 Allies and friends
- 4 Other versions
- 5 Collected editions
- 6 In other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Wally West was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and introduced in The Flash #110 (1959). The character was the nephew of the existing Flash character's girlfriend and later wife, Iris West. During a visit to the Central City police laboratory where Barry Allen worked, the freak accident that gave Allen his powers repeated itself, bathing West in electrically-charged chemicals. Now possessing the same powers as the Flash, West donned a smaller sized copy of Barry Allen's Flash outfit and became the young crimefighter Kid Flash.
This costume was later altered (in The Flash #135 ) to one that would make him more visually distinctive. The original red was replaced with a costume that was primarily yellow with red leggings, gloves, and ear-pieces.
In addition to his appearances within the Flash title, the character was used as a member of the newly created Teen Titans. Sometime later, Wally contracted a mysterious disease: the more he used his speed powers, the faster his body would die. Wally subsequently retired from his hero role.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry gave his life to save the Earth when destroying the antimatter cannon that was aimed at Earth. Initially unaware of this, Wally was coaxed by Jay Garrick into assisting the heroes against the Anti-Monitor's forces. During the final battle with the Anti-Monitor, Wally was struck by a blast of anti-matter energy, which put his disease into remission. In the aftermath of the conflict, Wally took on his fallen mentor's costume and identity.
The decision by DC Comics' editorial staff to radically change their fictional universe saw a number of changes to the status quo of the character. Wally West became a less powerful new Flash than his predecessor. For example, instead of being able to reach the speed of light, he could run just faster than that of sound. Also, the character had to eat vast quantities of food to maintain his metabolism.
Those changes were quickly followed up and 1987 saw the publication of a new Flash comic, initially written by Mike Baron. These stories focused not only on the Flash's superhero exploits, but the state of Wally's wealth. West won a lottery, bought a large mansion, and became something of a playboy. The character's finances and luck continued to ebb and wane until Flash vol. 2, #62, when his playboy ways ended and his fortunes stabilized.
The 1990s also saw further modifications to the look of the character, with a modified uniform appearing in 1991. This modified costume altered the visual appearance of the traditional Flash costume, with a belt made of two connecting lightning bolts meeting in a "V" at the front (where Allen's costume had a single bolt in a horizontal band), removal of the wings from the top of his boots, a change in the material of his costume, and opaque lenses added to the eyes of his cowl. This modified design utilized elements of the costume designed by artist Dave Stevens for the live action television series, The Flash.
A difficult encounter with a particularly vicious foe, the first Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne), also served to increase the speed of the character, forcing him to push past a psychological block he had placed on his powers. To prevent himself from truly "replacing" Barry, Wally had subconsciously limited his speed so that he could never become his mentor's equal, but Thawne's bragging that he would become the true Flash forced Wally past this block as he feared Thawne replacing Barry more than he feared himself doing so. After this encounter he was Barry Allen's equal in speed, and eventually became even faster. Though he still had not been able to recover Barry's vibrational/phasing abilities (he could vibrate through objects but they would explode instead) he gained several new powers that Barry never had. He was able to share/steal speed, use his speed to kinetically upgrade his attacks, and super heal others.
Writer Mark Waid expanded on the character's powers thematically and further redefined the character by introducing the Speed Force, an energy source that served as a pseudo-scientific explanation for his powers and that of other fictional speedsters within the DC Universe. Using this concept as a basis, the character's ability to tap into the Speed Force was used to expand his abilities. The character was now able to lend speed to other objects and people and create a costume directly out of Speed Force energy. Traditional powers such as the ability to vibrate through solid objects were also restored.
The 2000s saw writer Geoff Johns revitalize the character by introducing new versions of characters such as Zoom; making significant use of the Rogues; and marrying the character to longtime girlfriend Linda Park.
After Johns left the series, sales dropped significantly and DC editorial decided that it was time for the status quo to change once more. Using the miniseries Infinite Crisis as a narrative device, the character of Wally West and his family were seen leaving for an alternative reality. This allowed the character Bart Allen to become the fourth Flash and headline a relaunched third volume of the title, called The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.
The critical reaction to this new version of the character was mixed and the character was killed off in the final issue of the short-lived third volume. It was decided that Wally West should return; and the JLA/JSA story "The Lightning Saga" was used to return the character to Earth along with his wife and children, who appear to have aged several years.
The character next appeared in All Flash #1 (2007), seeking vengeance on those who had killed Bart Allen. This was followed by The Flash vol. 2, which resumed publication after the long hiatus with issue #231 (October 2007). The series found the character struggling with trying to raise his two super-powered twins, plagued by accelerated growth and their inexperience in the heroic game, a task made more difficult by Wally's unemployment, his inability to keep a steady job, and the mistrust of the League for his decision to bring two children into the fold. The series was canceled with issue #247 (February 2009).
The Flash: Rebirth
Interviews with The Flash: Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver revealed that the character would adopt a newly-designed costume in the limited series that reintroduces Barry Allen as the Flash. The new costume is heavily inspired by the original changes made to the suit in Flash vol. 2, #50 (cowl lenses, "wingless" boots, the belt-line V-shape, and the darker red color of the suit), which were slipping in and out of usage when the character was drawn by different artists. Wally's costume has also been given a straight cowl which cuts off at the bottom of the nose, similar to Batman's. Wally has also gained a new symbol identical to the symbol worn by his animated counterpart in the Justice League animated series, to further distinguish Wally from Barry Allen. After the end of "The Flash: Rebirth", Barry Allen became the star of a new ongoing "Flash" series, with Wally West making only one, out-of-costume appearance during the series' 12-issue run..
Flashpoint and The New 52
Following the events of Flashpoint, the timeline for the DC Universe has been rewritten. Barry Allen has never been married to Iris West, and it would appear that Wally West's time as Kid Flash/The Flash no longer occurred. When asked about Wally's whereabouts, DC creators have had no comment, and Dan DiDio has stated that the company plans to focus on Barry Allen for the foreseeable future.
Powers and abilities
Wally's primary superpower is his ability to be able to control the speed of which his body vibrates and to move at super speed, which he uses primarily to run at super-human velocities. This super speed is derived from his connection to the Speed Force: a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force from which most speedster heroes draw their powers (while the original Flash, Jay Garrick, can draw upon the Speed Force, Jay is one of the few speedsters that is a metahuman first, allowing him to keep a degree of super speed even when the Speed Force was cut off from the others).
While many hypothesize that the Speed Force is to an extent sentient, most utilize it primarily as just a tool, drawing upon it and using it when necessary; however, Max Mercury, a veteran speedster, has been able to commune and communicate with it, making it his life's goal to unlocking its secrets with many calling him the "Zen Master of the Speed Force". The Speed Force serves as the ultimate measure of velocity in the DC Universe. They are often referred to in terms of barriers: Sound Barrier, Light Barrier, Time Barrier, Dimensional Barrier, and finally the Speed Force Barrier.
While most to all speedsters can make a connection and draw upon this force, West mainlines power from the Speed Force itself and cannot be cut off from the source, unlike the others (as of 2009, Barry Allen has recently departed from his extended time within the Speed Force itself essentially "coming back to life" and while it is not known whether he shares the unbreakable connection to the Speed Force that Wally does, it stands to reason that he might). This connection to the Speed Force allows him additional abilities than other speedsters such as lending and taking speed (which allows others to temporarily utilize the Speed Force in different ways ranging from becoming speedsters themselves to bolstering others metabolisms and healing abilities, allowing them to recover from injuries in a fraction of the normal time), as well as absorbing kinetic energy in a less direct manner; he once absorbed the kinetic energy of the entire planet Earth while standing at the North Pole when his teammates were forced to move the planet to prevent possible earthquakes. Wally has also found a way to create a costume out of pure Speed Force energy, unlike other speedsters who use conventional costumes.
Like all Flashes, Wally is surrounded by a protective aura that allows him to resist the heat created by the friction of moving at super speed as well as other environmental consequences of moving at such velocities. It is not known how Wally is able to circumvent the damage moving at such great speeds would normally have on the environment, but it has been hypothesized that his protective aura allows him to "side step" such environmental consequences. Because of his powers and connection to the Speed Force, he can run at varying speeds for extended periods of time without needing rest or causing damage to his body. It is his connection to the Speed Force that constantly rejuvenates him while running making it so he does not literally feed upon his own body to generate the energy for super speed. Even so, as a consequence of his sped up metabolism, he finds it necessary to eat often and in great quantities to help supply the chemical energy needed to run like he does.
Using his abilities, Wally can run at such speed that he can run on water, create powerful vortices with his arms or body, and vibrate at such speeds that he becomes invisible to the naked eye. Wally can also match the vibrational constant of solid objects and vibrate through them, passing his molecules through the spaces in between the atoms and molecules of the matter he's vibrating through. Unlike other speedsters, once he became one with the Speed Force some of his abilities changed, one of which is that the objects Wally is vibrating though become atomically unstable and explode a second or two later. While this has its drawbacks, Wally now tends to use this offensively in battle.
Wally can also use his speed in a variety of clever ways in combat from creating a powerful whirlwind/tornado lifting and trapping his foe (which, if he chooses, can be used to knock his opponent out by robbing them of their oxygen supply), to binding and trapping his foes with whatever's lying around before they have a chance to react, to pummeling them with hundreds of super speed punches in a few seconds. Like many of the more powerful speedsters, he is able to run at such speeds where he is able to travel through time, although being able to control and fine tune his temporal destinations is quote "extremely tricky".
Wally is the fastest of all the Flashes, arguably even the fastest being that has ever existed and it has been remarked that Wally and Barry Allen are the only two speedsters that were fast enough to even outrun death. However, now that Barry Allen is back, his "Fastest Man Alive" title may be in dispute.
Over the years, Wally's speed has fluctuated from his career as Kid Flash, where he could run beyond the speed of light, to the beginning of his career as the Flash, in which he was limited to a top speed of approximately 700 mph (1,100 km/h). He is now confirmed to be able to run beyond the speed of light.
Allies and friends
Wally's father, Rudolph West (a Manhunter agent), was presumed deceased following an explosion in Cuba during the Invasion series. He reappeared years later at, among other places, his ex-wife Mary West's (Wally's mother) second wedding. They both later attended Wally and Linda's wedding.
While they disagree regularly, Wally has developed an odd friendship/respect with Batman, who has more than once made it clear that those feelings are mutual.
Like his predecessors, West is good friends with the Green Lantern of his time (Kyle Rayner). Wally also retained a close friendship with Kyle's predecessor, Hal Jordan, who often looked out for Wally even while he was the Spectre. His best friend is Dick Grayson, who served with Wally on the Teen Titans as the first Robin and served as Wally's best man at his wedding.
The members of the New Teen Titans, the team Wally served on as Kid Flash, has reappeared several times throughout his life. Although they are not always in close contact with one another, the team considers each other family; Wally is no exception.
Wally has developed a very extensive supporting cast over the duration of his comic series that began in 1987. It should be noted that a few of them are former villains and adversaries, such as Pied Piper, Speed Demon, and Chunk.
- Mary West - Wally's mother.
- Dr. Tina McGee - A scientist/nutritionist with whom he had a brief romantic involvement.
- Dr. Jerry McGee (also Speed Demon, Speed McGee) - Tina's (formerly ex-) husband and former super-speed villain.
- Connie Noleski - A model and girlfriend of Wally's in his early career as the Flash. She is currently married to Chunk.
- Chester P. Runk (also Chunk) - A brilliant physicist who became a walking black hole after a matter-transmitting machine he invented imploded during its first test.
- Mason Trollbridge - The former kid sidekick of a hard-edged depression-era crimefighter known as the Clipper.
- Pied Piper - One of Barry Allen's former Rogues.
- Linda Park-West - Originally introduced as a television news reporter, Wally began dating, and eventually married, her.
- Jay Garrick - The original Flash. Currently out of semi-retirement and a member of the Justice Society of America.
- Jesse Quick - The daughter of Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick, Jesse is a second generation superhero and speedster like her father.
- Max Mercury - The Zen Master of Speed.
- Iris West Allen - Wally's aunt, returned from the future.
- Bart Allen (Kid Flash) - Barry and Iris Allen's grandson from the future. Originally codenamed Impulse. He was a member of the Teen Titans when he took on his cousin's old identity. Wally and Bart are first cousins once removed by marriage.
- Ashley Zolomon - Current Rogue Profiler with the Keystone City PD, and former wife of Hunter Zolomon.
- Jai and Iris West - Wally and Linda's children. Aged 1 chronologically, but physically about 8 due to an unstable connection to the Speed Force. Wally had to teach them at super-speed, so they are mentally about the same age as they are physically. Following their nearly being killed by their powers, all of it was transferred to Iris, who became the new Impulse.
Superman & Batman: Generations 2
In John Byrne's graphic novel Superman & Batman: Generations 2, characters from the DC Universe are shown to age in real time. In this series, Wally appears as Kid Flash in 1964, which is the year he first appeared as a founding member of the Teen Titans (though in this version, he is a founding member of the Justice League). By 1986, Wally has retired and been replaced by the fourth Flash (Carrie Allen, the daughter of Barry Allen). Wally's son, Jay West, in turn, replaces Carrie in 2008 to become the fifth Flash.
Flash Annual #7 (1994) shows a Flash who has become a superstar celebrity and film director.
In Mark Waid's Kingdom Come, Wally becomes an embodiment of the Speed Force, but at the cost of his humanity until the events of The Kingdom. His twin children, Barry and Iris West, inherit their father's speed, but only Iris decides to become a superhero, a new Kid Flash. In Waid's The Life Story of the Flash, "written" by Iris Allen, she describes her namesake in a positive light and Barry West as "a tragedy."
Dark Flash Reality
The Flash vol. 2, #150–159 (1999–2000) introduces a version of Wally named "Walter West", also known as the Dark Flash, who appeared in the main DC universe after Wally and Linda were apparently killed in a fight with Abra Kadabra after he tried to dispose of Linda by sending her into Walter's reality, prompting Walter to travel back to Wally's world to take his place in recognition of his other self's sacrifice. This version of Wally is revealed to be an older, more powerful and experienced version from another reality within Hypertime (Although he only revealed his true identity to Jay Garrick, Donna Troy and Superman so that he could work with their various teams). It is revealed that this version of Wally was unable to save Linda from death at Kobra's hands. This made Walter a darker hero similar to Batman in The Dark Knight Returns storyline. After Walter's presence in the main DC Universe starts to cause other realities in Hypertime to bleed over into the main one, Superman and Wonder Woman force Walter to transverse Hypertime and return home. Although he leaves the main DC Universe, he appears to never make it back to his own reality. He seems to go from reality to reality with no success. After Hypertime was abandoned by DC, Walter West's continued existence becomes unclear.
An Elseworlds tale in Superboy Annual #1 (1994) shows a Wally West that had lost the use of his legs and had them replaced with bionic ones. With his artificial legs, Wally was not able to run at high speeds, though he could still move his arms at super-speed. This version of Wally died saving Green Lantern Hal Jordan from a yellow projectile.
JLA: Another Nail
In JLA: Another Nail, Wally West (as Kid Flash) makes a brief appearance when all time periods meld together. He is flying with Wonder Girl (Donna Troy).
In the "Armageddon 2001" crossover, Wally's future shows he has married and fathered a son. All three move into the Witness Protection Program to escape a mobster that can discern secrets with a touch. His son gains his speed but not his protective aura. After defeating the mobster and his older rogue's gallery, Wally manages to donate all of his speed to his son, granting the much needed aura.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Wally West acts as an assistant and cameraman for his aunt Iris, who in this reality is a television reporter. Investigating Central City's hero, Citizen Cold, Wally discovers that his true identity is that of a former low-level criminal. Citizen Cold confronts him before he can reveal this information, and freezes him in a block of ice. Wally was a childhood friend of Pied Piper, who arrives at Wally's lair and discovers Wally is killed by Citizen Cold. Pied Piper takes Wally's place in uncovering evidence of Citizen Cold's true identity. Afterwards, a grave for Wally is held by his aunt Iris along with her husband John.
The New 52
In the new continuity of The New 52, West has not yet appeared.
Wally West's stories from The Flash vol. 2 have been reprinted in several trade paperbacks.
Title Material collected Publication date ISBN The Flash: Born to Run Flash vol. 2, #62–65, Annual #8
Speed Force #1
Flash 80-Page Giant #1
June 1999 978-1563895043 Flash: The Return of Barry Allen Flash vol. 2, #74–79 July 1996 978-1563892684 Impulse: Reckless Youth Flash vol. 2, #92–94
April 1997 978-1563892769 The Flash: Terminal Velocity Flash vol. 2, #0, 95–100 September 1995 978-1563892493 The Flash: Dead Heat The Flash vol. 2, #108–111
August 2000 978-1563896231 The Flash: Race Against Time The Flash vol. 2, #112–118 July 2001 978-1563897214 The Flash: Emergency Stop The Flash vol. 2, #130–135 January 2009 978-1401221775 The Flash: The Human Race The Flash vol. 2, #136–141
"Flash of Two Worlds" from Secret Origins #50
June 2009 978-1401222390 The Flash: Wonderland The Flash vol. 2, #164–169 October 2007 978-1401214890 The Flash: Blood Will Run The Flash vol. 2, #170–176
The Flash Secret Files #3
June 2002 978-1563898792 The Flash: Blood Will Run (2nd ed.) The Flash vol. 2, #170–176
The Flash Secret Files #3
The Flash: Iron Heights
February 2008 978-1401216474 The Flash: Rogues The Flash vol. 2, #177–182 February 2003 978-1563899508 The Flash: Crossfire The Flash vol. 2, #183–191 March 2004 978-1401201951 The Flash: Blitz The Flash vol. 2, #192–200 August 2004 978-1401203351 The Flash: Ignition The Flash vol. 2, #201–206 March 2005 978-1401204631 The Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen The Flash vol. 2, #207–211, 213–217 August 2005 978-1401207236 The Flash: Rogue War The Flash vol. 2, #½, 212, 218, 200–225 January 2006 978-1401209247 The Flash: The Wild Wests The Flash vol. 2, #231–237 August 2008 HC: 978-1401218287 The Flash Omnibus by Geoff Johns Vol. 1 The Flash vol. 2, #164-176
The Flash: Our Worlds at War #1
The Flash Secret Files #3
The Flash: Iron Heights
May 2011 HC: 978-1401230685 Title Material collected Publication date ISBN The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told Flash Comics #1, 66, 86
Comic Cavalcade #24
The Flash #107, 113, 119, 124, 125, 137, 143, 148, 179
Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular
Flash vol. 2, #2
The Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told Flash Comics #86, 104
The Flash #123, 155, 165, 179
Flash vol. 2, #91
DC Special Series #11
August 2007 978-1401213725
In other media
- ^ "Wally West profile". Comicvine.com. http://www.comicvine.com/wally-west/29-23879/.
- ^ a b c d Jimenez, Phil (2008). "The Flash". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985)
- ^ a b Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986)
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" Flash v2, 1: 1 (June 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" Flash v2, 1: 20/5 (June 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Heart... of Stone!" Flash v2, 2: 22/3 (July 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Messner-Loebs, William (w), LaRocque, Greg (p), Marzan, Jose, Jr. (i). "The Fastest Man... Alive!" Flash v2, 50: 22/3 (May 1991), DC Comics
- ^ Waid, Mark (w), LaRocque, Greg (p), Richardson, Roy (i). "The Once and Future Flash" Flash v2, 79 (August 1993), DC Comics
- ^ Waid, Mark (w), Larroca, Salvador (p), Marzan, Jose, Jr. (i). "Terminal Velocity" Flash v2, 95–100 (November 1994 – April 1995)
- ^ a b Waid, Mark (w), Jimenez, Oscar (p), Marzan, Jose, Jr. (i). "Going the Distance" The Flash v2, 101 (May 1995)
- ^ "Updated: All Flash #1". Newsarama. June 27, 2007. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=118446. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- ^ "CCI Spotlight: Ethan Van Sciver". Comic Book Resources. July 31, 2008. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17542. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- ^ http://speedforce.org/2011/07/uniqueness-of-barry-allen/
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" Flash v2, 1: 5/5 (June 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Torrance, Jack (i), Eiber, Shelley (col), Haynie, Steve (let), Gold, Mike (ed). "Speed McGee" Flash v2, 5: 15/6 (October 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Kill the Kilg%re!" Flash v2, 4 (September 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Torrance, Jack (i). "Speed McGee" Flash v2, 5 (October 1987), DC Comics
- ^ Superman & Batman: Generations 2 #2 (September 2001)
- ^ Superman & Batman: Generations 2 #3 (October 2001)
- ^ Superman & Batman: Generations 2 #4 (November 2001)
- ^ Flash Annual #4 (1991)
- ^ Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1 (June 2011)
- ^ Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2 (July 2011)
- ^ Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #3 (August 2011)
- Kid Flash (Wally West) at the Comic Book DB
- Flash (Wally West) at the Comic Book DB
- Titans Tower biography
- The Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning Fan site with information about the super-speed characters of the DC Universe
- Crimson Lightning An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash
- Wally West at the Internet Movie Database
- The Unofficial Flash Biography
The Flash Creators The Flash The Flash Family Supporting characters VillainsGeneral Locations In other media Related articles
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